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Image making workshops at Warmington & Titchmarsh Schools

17 & 18.11.14

Not the most accurate of weather forecasts. It wasn’t really very cold and both days began by being misty and dull, however the sun did shine brightly during the afternoon session of the first day and made a fleeting visit on the second. Nevertheless, this slight exaggeration of the truth is still a good excuse to include the Foo Fighters on my Blog Title Soundtracks page.

This week I have returned to work with children at Warmington and Titchmarsh Schools following a invitation from Executive Head Josie Milton. I was asked to give an art history/appreciation talk using the Impressionists as my subject, lead some drawing workshops and to paint a mural during a French themed week.

I met with two groups at each of the schools, years 3&4 during the morning sessions and years 1&2 in the afternoon at Warmington school on the first day, with a similar timetable at Titchmarsh School on the second. The schools would amalgamate at the end of the week to participate in a ‘Unity Day’ when we would paint another mural together. So watch this space to see how it turned out.

After my short talk about ‘The Story of Impressionism’, to which all of the groups listened very well and even contributed by asking several questions, I invited the children to work with me en plein air. First we made a small ‘sketchpad’ by folding an A4 piece of paper to A7 so that it would fit in the palm of the hand, and after some preliminary advice in the classroom about ‘taking a line for a walk’ using an HB pencil, we bravely ventured outside. A collection of small drawings were produced, accompanied by descriptive words which might trigger and reignite memories and sensations at a later date.

Titchmarsh Church

With this being a new experience of drawing outside the classroom, as well as it being the third week of November, our time was naturally determined by the temperature, however all of the groups made some very successful notations which involved careful looking and a high level of concentration. The year 3&4 groups walked a short distance to work at nearby churches, the Church of St Mary for the Warmington group with a different Church of St Mary for the Titchmarsh group, while the Year 1&2 groups worked on their respective school fields and play area.

Returning to the warm and controlled conditions of our ‘Studio’, we then worked together to produce a more finished version of one of our outdoor scribblings on a larger scale. Some good drawings were produced as a result and hopefully the working method I introduced might even encourage personal and individual work in the future. The note taking process was so simple and unfussy, and illustrated that the act of drawing is comparable to keeping a diary, and can be just as private.

As usual, I was far too preoccupied to take any photographs on either day, so many thanks Josie, Cathy, Mikayla, Lorna and Gill for taking these:

Warmington Year 3&4

Warmington Year 1&2

Titchmarsh Year 3&4

Titchmarsh Year 1&2

………… Crete

18 – 25 October 2014

After what has been a fairly busy year involved with large projects, a chance to scribble in a notebook again and work on a smaller scale with a 7 day break and a return visit to Crete, thanks to an invitation from our good chums Peter & Monica. This time it was the subject that was big, not the image making. The challenge however was exactly the same, trying to make images work while being bombarded with such different sensations and being confronted with a landscape with such a magnificence of scale.

The way I’ve found to deal with this problem is to treat the subject the same as one would when entering a grand building such as a cathedral. One doesn’t simply barge in, the place must be treated with the respect it deserves. It’s important to enter quietly, take time to drink in the atmosphere and allow the senses to become familiar with the new surroundings.

The secret I think is not to be impatient and for me, drawing has always been the best method I’ve found to feel one’s way in. Taking time to look and listen through the weaving, continuous, overlapping lines created by the point of a pencil enables my eyes and ears to take a walk across the page and develop a sense of place. It’s not everyone’s way maybe, but it’s my way.

The pages of my notebook return me to where the drawing was made and reawakens a memory bank of sensations, even if the page contains only an urgent and quickly rendered scribble. My calligraphic wanderings are more personal than a photograph and transport me back in time and space. They are instant reminders of the sights, sounds and scents of the original location.

Crete is filled with a cocktail of sensations. This time around an instant word map would include – visiting a museum of monumental wooden sculptures in Axos Milopotamou; sitting in the sun at a cafe in Anogia village; watching waves crash over the harbour wall at Rethymno and eating at Othonas Taverna; gorge walking at Spili and coming across another olive grove of ancient trees; harvesting walnuts with my ‘Karydia Brothers’ and having the black fingers to prove it; the spectacular scenery and dramatic landscape revealed during the journey from Vamos to Chora Sfakion ending with a meal beside the harbour; the stunning skyline filled with sea-storms approaching the shore viewed from the beach at Triopetra and the sight of waves breaking against the ‘3 Stones’; the outlook during the journey to Agios Pavlos and drinking a chilled glass of Mythos in the taverna overlooking the idyllic bay; watching waves crashing into the cliffs, with thunder, lightning, gusty winds and rain falling in sheets while drying out at the same location; the outstanding and impressive rock formations at Agios Pavlos too; eating out in Spili, at the Maria-Kostas Taverna and at the Mylos Cafe; watching high soaring birds casually gliding on warm thermal winds; wrecked, battered, bruised as well as re-invented and re-engineered motor vehicles; the regular clang of sheep and goat bells; staring philosophically into a clear and unpolluted Indian Ink sky carefully strewn with scattered, sparkling constellations; sublime sunsets to die for; visiting the birthplace of Domenikos Theotokopoulos outside the sleepy village of Fodele where old women dressed in black sat in the street making macramé items using the back of a wooden chair as a frame, then sitting under the most ancient of ancient trees in sun dappled shade to eat lunch at the El Greco Café; it’s been a stimulating week!

The landscape of Crete is overwhelming and the people warm and welcoming. I may not speak the language or be able to read the roadsigns comfortably, but a smile, a glance and a gesture easily becomes a conversation of a thousand unspoken words. However, as for Crete as a subject for painting is concerned, I have only dipped my toe in the water – and the pool is the size of an ocean.

As for image making, I’m still coming to terms with the place and have much to learn, but perhaps I’ve made a start in feeling my way around – and it’s feelin’ good. It’s caused a problem with my Blog Title Soundtracks page though. Should I have chosen Nina Simone? Or Muse. Tough call. I’m still undecided, so I included both.


3 Parts Dirt! 10cc Abba AC/DC Achille-Etna Michallon Ajaz Akhtar Alberto Giacometti Albrecht Durer Alice in Wonderland Amsterdam Andrew Wyeth Andy Warhol Antonio Vivaldi Arctic Monkeys Art History Atomic Rooster Banksy Beatles Benjamin Marshall Bernard Cribbins Black Black Sunday Blondie Bob & Marcia Bob Marley Boxing Brushes app. Caesar Cambridge Camille Corot Cancer Canned Heat Castle Caverstede Early Years Centre 'Bigger Picture' Chalk Pastel Charcoal Charles R. Knight Charlie Small Children's Books Christo Claude Monet Coldplay Corinne Bailey Rae Coventry Creative Partnerships Crete Cricket Daniel Lambert Darren Fraser David Bomberg David Bowie Deacon's School Dennis Creffield Diego Velάzquez Discovery Primary School Django Reinhardt Dogsthorpe Academy Drawing Dr Strangely Strange Edgar Degas Edvard Munch Egypt Elizabeth Vigée Le Brun Elton John Elvis Costello en plein air Epping Forest Europe Eurythmics Evolve magazine Exhibition Fitzwilliam Museum Floella Benjamin Foo Fighters Football Forest Schools Fosse Mead Primary Francesco Guardi Frank Auerbach Fred Astaire Frida Kahlo Fulbridge School Garage Door Gary Moore Gene Wilder Gentle Giant George Bellows Georges Braque Georgio de Chirico Gerry Rafferty Gian Lorenzo Bernini Gingerbread Man Giovanni Bellini Gladiator Glasgow Boys Glenn Frey Gnarls Barkley Greece Gruffalo Gustav Klimt Haiku Hands Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Hercules Brabazon Brabazon Hiroshige Hokusai Ian Anderson Impressionism iPad Iron Curtain Jacob van Ruisdael Jacques Brel James Abbott McNeill Whistler Jamiroquai Jazz Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres Jean-Francois Millet Jethro Tull JMW Turner Joe Cocker Johannes Vermeer John Constable John Lennon Johnny Kidd & the Pirates Juan Sánchez Cotán Jurassic Way Killer Shrimp King's Cliffe Endowed Primary School King's Cliffe Primary Kit Downes Quintet KT Tunstall Lanchester Polytechnic Landscape Landscape painting Lascaux Laurel Barbieri Leningrad Lenny Kravitz Len Tabner Leonardo da Vinci Lewis Carroll Little Red Riding Hood Loch Craignish Lonnie Donegan Luke Steele Lynyrd Skynyrd Mad Hatter Madness Manfred Mann's Earth Band March Hare Marvin Gaye Meadowside Primary School Media Media Archive for Central England Michael Jackson MichelAngelo Modest Mussorgsky Mosaic Moscow Mural Muse Music National Gallery Newark Hill Primary Nickel Creek Nick Ward Nina Simone Oasis Obsidian Art Gallery Owl Painting Panda Panorama Paul Cezanne Paul Gauguin Peterborough Peter Paul Rubens Picasso Pieter Bruegel the Elder Pirates Pleurisy Pneumonia Portrait Procul Harem Queen Radio 3 Essential Classics Rafael Alberti Rainforest Ray Charles Red Hot Chili Peppers Rembrandt van Rijn Rene Magritte River Nene Roald Dahl Rock Music Rod Campbell Rodrigo y Gabriela Rod Stewart Rogier van der Weyden Rolling Stones Romans Rome Rowlatts Hill Primary School Royal Academy Roy Clark Russia Salvator Rosa Sarah Walker Scotland Seascape Self Portrait Sheryl Crow Sistine Chapel Small Faces Sport St. Brendan's Primary School Steppenwolf Stereophonics Talking Heads Terry Jacks The Automatic The BFG The Crooked House Himley The Editors The Jam The Killers The Moody Blues The Red Deltas The Sensational Alex Harvey Band Thin Lizzy Thomas Faed Tina Turner Titchmarsh School Titian Tom Jones Totem Pole Trompe l'oeil Tuscany USSR Venice Vienna Vincent Van Gogh Volcanic Voyager Academy Warmington School We Are Scientists William Hogarth William Law Primary School Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club YouTube

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